Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler
Powerful on all fronts, 21 dancers of
the Joffrey Ballet delivered with finesse four very different styles
by four challenging choreographers.
Three couples dancing in sequence
embraced Jerome Robbins’ In the Night (1970) as a visual
treatise on three aspects of love, working into the heart of Chopin’s
music played live off-stage by pianist Paul James Lewis.
Each closed with a surprise; all three
parts demanded nuanced physicality and facial expression along with
lifts to amaze. With all three couples on stage for the climax,
Robbins teases us into thinking about where we are in the trinity.
Anita Pociotti provided a meticulous re-staging.
If Robbins’ approach to pas de
deux is sublime, George Balanchine’s is sly. He layers flirting
onto the Italian folk dance Tarantella (1964), with two
dancers relating viscerally as a dance within a dance taking off and
landing in non-stop virtuosity and fancy footwork to the
ever-changing tempos driving Gottschalk’s music (arranged by
Elyse Borne staged Abigail Simon and
Graham Maverick in a tamer version of the original emotionally and
technically charged performances by Patricia McBride and Edward
Gerald Arpino’s Round of
Angels (1983) set on Mahler’s Adagietta from The Fifth
Symphony was elevated by Christine Rocas and Jonathan Dummar as the friends and lovers
destined to part and a male corps representing broken-winged angels.
Inspired by an etching by Caveliere d’Arpino, this work,
wrought with turbulence, plumbs the depths of loss when we know it is
Set on music by Philip Glass and Thomas
Newman, Edwaard Liang’s Age of Innocence (2008) boldly
approaches the subtext of Jane Austen novels to vibrantly depict
emotional textures in a regulated society where the ball in a grand
house serves as the meeting and mating place.
Three segments in this performance
showing vignettes of an assignation and of interactions between
smaller groupings are book ended by a corps of eight men and eight
women going through the motions of a stately dance suddenly pulled
apart by pent up emotions. Liang’s commentary is heightened by
Maria Pinto’s costume design with men in briefs and women first
in stately gowns and eventually in chaste undergarments. Throughout,
the lighting was superb.
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